JUST DOING MY DUTY
By CRAIG McTEAR
WHEN Woolgoolga granddad John Fielding saw two men struggling fiercely outside the cop shop, there was no way he was going to turn a blind eye. That's simply not his style.
The 72-year-old was driving past Woolgoolga Police Station with his wife, Pauline, when he glanced over and 'saw things weren't right'. He drove into the station car park, hopped out and rushed over to see a police officer ? highway patrolman Scott Jackson ? wrestling a man on the ground.
"I grabbed his arm and bent it up behind his back, because Senior Constable Jackson was trying to handcuff him," John said.
"The man was very erratic and violent, but I can remember him pleading 'don't hurt my sunnies'."
After gaining the upper hand, Const. Jackson dragged the man to the dock and asked John to seek back-up via police radio.
He thanked John for his help before the Good Samaritan was quickly out the door again ? he had ice-cream in his car and had to get home.
"It's disappointing that these days, people don't want to interfere. I get frightened at times with that attitude," John, a retired navy commander, said.
"I was just doing my duty."
What John didn't realise at the time was Const. Jackson had just arrested the Queenslander for drink-driving after a breath-test in nearby River Street, and was taking him to the station for a breath analysis.
"He didn't want to go inside and put up a struggle when I grabbed hold of him," Const. Jackson said.
"He threw me over the car bonnet, but I wasn't going to let him go, and he fell on top of me."
The man was subsequently charged with high-range drink-driving after a breath analysis at Coffs Harbour Police Station, resisting arrest and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Const. Jackson sported cuts and bruises on his hands and arms for days after that ugly incident back in January.
Last week, police brass awarded John Fielding a certificate of appreciation for his valiant deeds.
"I was embarrassed when I was told I was getting the award. You just do your thing and you get on with it, but it's nice to be recognised," John said.
Four years ago, John was awarded an OAM for his services to the veteran community through his involvement with the Woolgoolga RSL sub-branch and Coffs Harbour Legacy.